Austin’s Path to College

The story of a determined, capable student doing everything he can to achieve his dreams, but needing a helping hand to bridge the last gap.

Austin was a hard-working high school student at high risk of dropping out.

Austin came to Story Time in order to further his education. He wants to be financially stable so he can provide for his family. Austin lives at home with his mother, three brothers and two sisters. He says he thinks about his future everyday and is confident in his ability to achieve his dreams.

Austin giving a big thumbs up!

Austin giving a big thumbs up!

Austin was chosen for sponsorship because he was one of the most at-risk of dropping out. He was identified through a 7-step process, involving students, parents, local community leaders, and family members, as Dr. Zikani Kaunda speaks about in this video.

After all of that, Austin signed an agreement, knowing that he would try his best in school, all four years, and Story Time would work with him to meet him where he was with support and funding.

He worked hard in school, attended classes every day, and participated in after-school lessons.

Austin’s community leaders encourage him because they want him to succeed; the chief in his village even made a rule that he is not to find any school aged person in the village on school days. He is a hard-working student who often finds himself talking to teachers, friends, family, fellow schoolmates, siblings, and community leaders about his future and his goals.

Nsondole CDSS has had an 18 year history, where many students have graduated, but very few have gone on to achieve the MSCE - a government certificate which determines a range of opportunities including business licenses, technical school admissions, college admissions, and more.

But in all that time, no student has been selected to college.

College admission alone in Malawi requires a lot of resources which many aren’t able to bridge. Unfortunately, many NGOs focus on students completing primary education (that’s elementary school in the US), and many don’t provide help for applying to college.

Austin achieved the MSCE score which allowed him to apply for college. Austin tried his hand in farming to get tuition money, but with the dry season as it was, he was unable to make anything. He couldn’t bridge the gap on his own. Story Time was able to match him with a donor through the Student Sponsorship Program.

[Austin] looks at his education positively.
— Dr. Zikani Kaunda

Dreams of Teaching at a Secondary or Primary School

Austin’s ambitions for college include studying Theology and graduating with a diploma in four years time. He also likes other subjects in the arts like Geography, History and English. He looks forward to achieving his dream of teach at a secondary school or a primary school, which will be that much closer after working towards his educational goal. Dr. Zikani Kaunda says that Austin had "good praises from his teachers", that "[Austin] looks at his education positively" and is a "dedicated school student". With Austin’s unbeatable optimism, we can’t wait to see where it takes him.

To learn more about how to get involved with SSP projects, visit the Project pages here.